Sacramento’s outdoor summer concert scene is growing, as 40-year old Chris Pendarvis, owner of Naked Lounge and Orphan, is adding the Oak Park Concert Series in McClatchy Park.
It’s added to a lineup that includes Concerts in the Park at Cesar Chavez Plaza, Curtis Park’s Music in the Park at the end of June and Friday’s kickoff of Pops in the Park in McKinley Park.
The organizers of the free Oak Park Concert Series said they hope to revitalize one of Sacramento’s oldest neighborhoods and make use of the hidden treasures in McClatchy Park.
Throughout the summer months, beginning on June 18, Oak Park Productions and Naked Coffee will host performances on one Saturday every month through September from 4:30 – 7:30 p.m. The roster includes an eclectic musical taste of regional and Sacramento artists.
Pendarvis, who spends a lot of time in Oak Park, said he had the idea budding for awhile, and created the concert series on a whim after noticing how the park was being underutilized.
Pendarvis said the park itself is beautiful. He described the tall trees that cloak the park in natural shade that is much-needed in the hotter summer months. He said it has a fully equipped amphitheatre with a stage, plugs and a sound system that is rarely, if ever, used.
“I walk past this amazing stage, and in all my years of walking through McClatchy, I never noticed any consistent entertainment,” Pendarvis said. “It’s one of the oldest parks in Sacramento, and it’s built for music.”
The event will kick off with sets from The Snobs, a punk/rock band with a twist – a saxophone – and Electricpoetic Coffee featuring the duo Ross Hammond and NSAA, who combine Hammond’s jazz guitar with NSAA’s spoken word.
On July 9, ZuhG, a collective style funky-jazzy-jam band will perform, followed by Longshot Soundsystem, a reggae band that Pendarvis describes as “out of this world.”
On Aug. 6, Nagual, an ensemble featuring guitar, saxophone, drums, bass and vocals will perform music that transcends genres. Mad Planet, a male/female trip-hop duo from Los Angeles, will follow.
On Sept. 3, Musical Charis, a folk/rock “conglomerate” with unconventional instruments like a sitar and toy pianos will bring its lighthearted music style to the stage. Mondo Decco, a self-described “four-piece rock/glam/R&B group,” will follow. The Afterlife, a jazz band ranging from modern to swing, will close out the summer series.
“I think all the music is going to be really great. We just went out to find good music that we think that people will enjoy. There’s so many great musicians in the Sacramento area, so it’s not hard to find music of a high caliber,” Pendarvis said.
Pendarvis said he expects the ZuhG/Longshot Soundsystem show to be one of the most popular.
Bryan Nichols, 24-year-old guitarist and vocalist from ZuhG, said he is excited to be a part of the outdoor music series. He said playing music outside brings a whole different vibe, energy and sound.
“Music is a thing that brings people together in a positive way. Hopefully that’s what goes down in McClatchy Park,” Nichols said. “To have it in a community like that where they don’t usually have a big concert in the park, hopefully all the families and the kids come out and take advantage of it.”
Pendarvis said part of revitalizing the park is shedding the image the neighborhood has of being a dangerous place to live. He said he thinks that people have certain thoughts regarding the neighborhood that aren’t great, but “they are super off-base.”
“I think it’s important to get people to come to McClatchy and see how great it is. I think it opens minds,” Pendarvis said.
“I think to get people into the Oak Park area and actually check the neighborhood out is a good thing, and I think it’s revitalizing. This isn’t just a concert for Oak Park, this is a show for the urban area at a great venue, which just so happens to be in Oak Park,” he added.
Frank Loret de Mola, 26-year-old general manager of the downtown Naked Lounge recently moved to the Oak Park community. He said he was completely on board when his boss, Pendarvis, came to him with the idea.
He said he believes that the series in the park will create a sense of ceremony for the community that is important when you’re trying to bring people together and make a change.
“A lot has changed in Oak Park. There’s been a lot of money put into it, a lot of businesses have grown, a lot of new families are moving in,” Loret de Mola said. “I think the neighborhood is going to show up. They’re going to hear our music. They’re going to go outside, and they’re going to check it out.”
Loret de Mola and Naked Lounge workers will be volunteering for the event, directing foot traffic and helping out with the stage and making sure the event runs smoothly.
“I’m looking forward to seeing it all happen and watching our staff take charge, and of course seeing everyone getting together for what’s ultimately a free event,” he said.
Pendarvis said he isn’t doing the series as a marketing incentive for Naked Coffee. The event is sponsored by his company and is coming out of his own pocket because it was just something he wanted to do. All he needs now is for people to come out.
He said he doesn’t think it will be any different than other outdoor summer concerts. It will be family-friendly, music-oriented, and people can bring their own food and chairs and relax in the shade.
“This is just being done for fun,” Pendarvis said. “We don’t want donations. We aren’t recruiting anyone. We have two guys and a whole bunch of volunteers who are doing it. What’s unusual about it is that it hasn’t happened often, if ever, in McClatchy.”